Tuesday, January 21, 2014

19 months post surgery - many questions...few answers

I was recently contacted by an on-line medical device recall website. The editor had read my blog and asked me to write an article about my metal on metal  (MoM) total hip replacement revision surgery and subsequent recovery for their community forum.  I was happy to do this since there is little useful information out on the internet about this type of surgery and recovery.   
I began by going back and re-reading my blog from the very beginning of my hip revision ordeal.  I realized, that while I am on the road to recovery - I have not recovered as I would have expected to be 19 months post surgery. In fact, I think I feel even more betrayed by the medical industry since I am still not whole - not mentally or physically as a result of the defective MoM hip implant.
Many questions - few answers...
I am 19 months post surgery as I write this. I still suffer from leg, muscle and joint pain as a result of the second THR revision surgery. As of October 2013 my Chromium levels are still elevated ( Cobalt is in normal range). I will have new labs taken in January 2014  to see if there is any change.
While the pain is not excruciating, and at times is just a mild discomfort -  it is always present. The Doctors in their infinite wisdom (sarcasm) say the hip is stable and everything looks great! But I’ve found that the Doctors really don’t understand – because their knowledge comes from a text book – not from a real life experience. They are doing the best they can (within the confines of managed health care and their experience) – but I live in this body and I would really like some answers as to why I feel this way.
  1. Why would after two surgeries and 19 months of recovery would I still have hip weakness, joint instability and pain in the surgery area and leg?
  2. I’ve been working hard to recover – I am not just sitting around waiting to get stronger! I am physically and mentally working every day toward 100% recovery – why then I am still struggling and having issues?
  3. What are the long term affects of the high levels of chromium and cobalt? No one seems to know the answer to that question. What will this mean to me long term?
  4. I can’t understand why the doctors aren’t more interested in these questions as well?
  5. Wouldn’t this knowledge help them as they treat future patients?
Some days all of this makes me angry, some days I learn to accept and let go and other days I wonder when and if I will ever feel normal again. But the fact is I worry – A LOT - about my long term ability to stay active and lead a normal life.  I worry that this new prosthesis is bad or incompatible (even though the doctors say it is fine) and perhaps that is why I feel all this pain. At other times I chalk it up to my active lifestyle – I still continue to cycle and do yoga (These two activities help to keep me sane and strong).

My hope is that all these muscle pains are just my atrophied muscles coming back to life – a little at a time. Perhaps these pains are compensating muscles that now have to overwork to make up for the muscles that are not working properly?

As always...Many questions – few real answers…



  1. Just like dancers, more and more yoga teachers and practitioners are getting hip replacements. There is a huge connection between laxity and hip joint pathologies. We need to be careful in yoga not to compress the hip joint or over-stretch ligaments in the hip and sacral platform needed to keep the pelvic girdle stable in movement. Many yoga poses are not safe to do to keep the hips healthy for a lifetime. Staff poses, seated forward bends and asymmetrical twists can cause hip damage.
    Many yogis also get tears in the labrum of the hip socket. See www.yogainjuries.com

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  3. Your article is very helpful, all be it distressing. I recently was tested and they found high cobalt and chromium levels. A metal compression MRI at Yale revealed a golf ball sized accumulation of fluid on my left hip implant which was put in 7 years ago. ( my right hip was done 5 years ago). I was astonished when the doctor told me I neeed a revision sooner than later. I have had both my knees replaced as well. I am also a small business owner (Flower and clothing boutique) for the past 28 years. I was a devotee of bikram yoga until my body started to fall apart. After reading about your nightmare, I am now terrified of what I face. Who is culpable and did you pursue any legal action against the manufacturer? I love my doctor and wouldn’t think of suing him but these companies that manufacture need to do their due deligence.